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Review: A Riff of Retribution – Amir Lane

A Riff of Retribution - Amir Lane

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Rock ‘n Roll

Reviewer: Maryann

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About The Book

Dead men are filled with life.

Eleven years ago, world-renowned guitarists Hale and Aleksandr learned that monsters were real. Hale lost the love of his life, and Aleksandr lost his brother.

When the carnage was over, they vowed to make sure no one else had to go through what they did.

But since then, another band’s bassist has been killed at a festival, and she wasn’t the only one. Hale suspects a vampire was responsible, and that their drummer — the singer of his new band — knows more about it than she’s letting on. When a member of their new act is also attacked by a vampire, everything Hale has tried to keep in the shadows comes to light.

Hale has made a bargain with the gods for the power to heal. But he can’t save everyone.

The dead are rising. The gods are angry. And even they won’t be Hale’s biggest problem.

From USAT Bestselling Author Amir Lane comes a story of music, magic, and mayhem.

Warning: Substance abuse, self-harm, mentions of attempted suicide.

The Review

Sweden is home for Hale and Aleksandr, best friends and heavy metal musicians who tour all over the world as The Emperor Immortal. Both men have special abilities, given to them by the gods Eir and Odin. Aleksandr can predict things in a weird way and can talk mind-to-mind with Hale. He would have made a good a priest or storyteller in an earlier age. Hale has the ability to heal, but it’s dangerous for him, because he takes the pain and the causes of suffering into his own body.  

Hale was an alcoholic and almost died, but he’s now six years sober, and both men suffered a great loss with the death of Soren, Aleksandr’s brother and Hale’s lover. He left a giant hole their hearts.

Their current tour has them traveling with several bands: Alchemist, Abolitionist, Bloody Morningstar, the Furies and more. There are all kinds of musicians and vocalists who bring fun and drama to this traveling tour, and there’s also tragedy. 

Lane does a fantastic job with the world-building in A Riff of Retribution. There’s a large line-up of characters with all types of personalities, and they all perform in different bands and get along with one another. I loved hearing about the bands and how they all worked together to bring about this huge touring concert. The story doesn’t shy away from the seedy side of the rock scene: drugs, alcohol, self-harm, eating disorders, and more.  

Hale suffers with his ability to heal others and not himself. He is a recovered alcoholic, but being in the band environment is a constant temptation, even though he knows it would kill him. He risks himself for others. And while he has a relationship with Sterling, the man is not good for him and their connection is not very romantic. Sterling suffers from tinnitus, he’s self-centered, drinks constantly, does drugs and is in the closet.  

As the story nears its crescendo, we see a lot more of vampires, draugs, witches and vampire hunters, as Hale has to make a decisions about Sterling. And Aleksandr has his own plan to proceed, without Hale.  

This book is not a romance, and it delves deeply into Norse Mythology and the Norse Gods: Eir, Odin, Freya and Thor. That said, I found myself totally immersed in it, and am looking forward to the second book A Chant of Chains to see what Lane has planned for Hale and the heavy metal bands.

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California. Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018. My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen. New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012. She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series. Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book!

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing. I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews. One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group. Joining her site was such an eye opener. I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams.